Sixteen ski areas are advertising RFID ticket systems this season.
Tuesday, November 5, 2019, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Radio frequency identification (RFID) ticketing is rapidly expanding in New England, as 5 areas have added the technology in the past two seasons.
The first known RFID ticketing system in New England was deployed at Jay Peak in 2010. As of the 2019-20 season, 16 New England ski areas in 3 states are expected to use the technology.
Boyne Resorts is the latest owner to deploy the technology, as it has installed gates at Loon for the upcoming season. Boyne plans to install RFID at Sugarloaf and Sunday River for 2020-21.
Vail has not yet implemented RFID at its recently acquired Peak Resorts areas.
While the technology has origins dating back to the mid twentieth century, widespread commercial usage has taken place in the past few decades, as chips have become smaller and more affordable for identification cards and transit tolling.
Though expensive to deploy, RFID in theory can decrease labor costs, as well as reduce theft of service. With RFID passes, returning skiers can pay for their passes online, thus reducing demand on ticket windows. In addition, with seamless lift gates, employees no longer need to manually scan tickets.
RFID technology also allows for easy implementation of multi-resort passes, the most popular being Epic and Ikon.
Though theft of service through unauthorized transfers is still an issue, some installations incorporate photo and biometric verification.